Ukraine: Putin's actions amount to ‘renewed invasion’ says PM
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The Labour Party recently accused the Tory Party of taking money from Russia linked donors. Analysis of Electoral Commission logs, conducted by the Labour Party, suggested donors with Russian business links have given £1.93 million to either the Conservative party or individual constituency associations since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July 2019.
But Mr Harper, MP for Forest of Dean, denied that the party had taken money from Russian donors, saying: “There haven’t been any Russian donations to the Conservative party because we don’t take money from foreign donors.
“That would be illegal.”
Speaking at the British Politics after Brexit Conference 2022 earlier today, he added: “People who are British citizens are able to make donations to the Conservative Party.
“You have to be a British citizen to donate to British political parties.
“And if you’re a British citizen and you are appropriately loyal to Britain you are perfectly entitled to give money to political parties.”
Shadow Security Minister Conor McGinn said it was “deeply worrying to see revealed potential financial links between senior donors and Putin’s Russia”.
However, Conservative Minister James Cleverly defended the party, saying: “People donate to the Conservative party because they support our aims or objectives.
“Conservative party policy, unlike Labour Party policy, has never been dictated by our political donors.”
In a letter to Security Minister Damian Hinds, Mr McGinn asked: “What checks have been completed on the financial origins of the donations themselves and were any links to hostile state actors discovered?”
The Government faced criticism following the 2020 Russia report, conducted by the cross-party intelligence and security committee, which found that no effort had been made to investigate Russian interference in British politics.
Stewart Hosie, an SNP MP who sat on the committee, alleged Government “actively avoided looking for evidence that Russia interfered” in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
But Mr Harper dismissed claims that Mr Putin meddled in the Brexit referendum as “patronising nonsense”, saying that the British public is “perfectly able to make decisions”.
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Concerns over Russian interference in UK politics have only been growing over recent weeks amid the mounting threat of war with Russia.
Mr Putin has built up more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border, demanding that the country be barred from joining NATO’s defensive alliance.
The Russian president last night sent troops to the Donbas region after formally recognising two Russian-backed separatist-controlled regions in Ukraine as independent.
He claimed the troops are there for “peacekeeping” purposes, but the US representative at the UN has dismissed that as “nonsense”.
Speaking to Sky News this morning, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that the “invasion of Ukraine has begun.”
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